Chapter 367: Two Sides to Every Coin
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
A ball of white light appeared on Lin Feng’s palm. At the heart of it was an enormous white elephant, which was normally majestic and overpowering but now at its dying gasp.
A young boy, just a few years of age, lay on top of the elephant. It was the Nascent Soul of the Cloud Elephant Grandmaster that Lin Feng previously captured during the Sect-Opening Ceremony at the outskirts of Shazhou City.
The Cloud Elephant Grandmaster was the Sect Master of the Cloud Elephant Sect of the Northern Foothills of Mount Kunlun. He was supposed to attend the Celestial Sect of Wonders’ Sect-Opening Ceremony, but was influenced by Pang Jie and Kong Chang to join in on the attack against the Celestial Sect of Wonders, and was ultimately defeated and captured by Lin Feng.
His physical body was instantly blown to smithereens by the Avatar of Ares, and Lin Feng seized his Nascent Soul when he attempted to flee. Ever since then, Lin Feng has not paid him much attention, but was always suppressing his Nascent Soul, which prevented his injuries from healing and kept him in this weak and vulnerable state.
He would have been relieved of his pain if Lin Feng had dealt with him sooner, but he was forced to live the life of a death-row prisoner all this while. It was as though there was a guillotine hanging above his head, with him not knowing when it would finally come slicing down, which was the most excruciating thing for him.
Having lived so long in a constant state of anxiety, not knowing when he would die, the Cloud Elephant Grandmaster’s tenacity has weakened severely even though he had already formed his Nascent Soul. The gripping sense of fear that he has not felt since he formed his Aurous Core has now returned to haunt him.
When he saw Lin Feng, the Cloud Elephant Grandmaster was immediately scared stiff. “Please spare me this time, Senior. I’m willing to lead my legions in the Cloud Elephant Sect to pledge loyalty to the Celestial Sect of Wonders …”
He still wanted to plead more, but Lin Feng already placed his finger on the Cloud Elephant Grandmaster’s eyebrows. “You reap what you sow.”
“No!” The Cloud Elephant Grandmaster let out an agonising wail, but had no energy left to struggle.
As the long years flowed by, his eyes became increasingly faded and pallid, until he eventually lost all traces of sentience. He just possessed the most primitive, primal form of ignorance. He was truly unintelligible and illiterate, like an infant just born into the world.
The Cloud Elephant Grandmaster’s Nascent Soul fused with the giant white elephant beneath him. The entire mass then shrank in size rapidly before finally solidifying as a physical entity, morphing into a jade sculpture in the shape of a little white jade elephant and landing on Lin Feng’s palm.
Lin Feng lifted his finger and probed the ridge on the little white jade elephant’s back, and the jade sculpture’s eyes instantly lit up.
The jade elephant seemingly came to life, and curled up on Lin Feng’s palm. Lin Feng flipped it around and carved an archaic pattern on the underside of the jade sculpture. The outlined strokes of the pattern were blood-red, which glowed and dissolved into the jade sculpture.
The pigments of life in the jade elephant’s eyes then receded back into its body. Lin Feng grinned, “This treasure would be called the Cloud Elephant Seal, just perfect for Wang Lin to use.”
Lin Feng just finished creating the Cloud Elephant Seal, and sensed that Wang Lin has also successfully completed his mantra inside the Tripitaka Block.
He entered the Tripitaka Block and asked with a smile, “Wang Lin, is everything proceeding smoothly?”
Lin Feng looked up and saw Wang Lin frowning and sitting cross-legged in front of a bookshelf. He was staring at the spell scripture laying before him, deep in thought.
Upon seeing Lin Feng enter the compound, Wang Lin immediately rose to greet him. “Master.”
Lin Feng noticed his odd demeanour and felt slightly puzzled, and enquired, “What’s wrong? Did you encounter a problem?”
Wang Lin picked up the spell scripture on the shelf and presented it to Lin Feng, looking quite troubled. “I’ve finished deriving the mantra. Please look through it, Master.”
“Although the mantra has been completed, I still feel that it’s not perfect enough. It’s still an inch away from the ideal state that I conjured in my mind.”
Lin Feng’s eyes narrowed. “Oh?” He received the spell scripture from Wang Lin and browsed through the entire mantra with one sweep of his supernatural awareness.
The mantra Wang Lin created was named the”Heavenly Extreme Path Sutra”, which incorporated Wang Lin’s understanding of the laws of Heaven and Earth since the beginning of his cultivation journey. It used the Great Celestial Way of the Eight Trigrams as its foundation, while infusing destructive powers to create an environment with two forces on different extremes.
But Lin Feng quickly realized that, just as Wang Lin said, this mantra was still one step away from attaining true perfection.
This was not a problem of whether the mantra scriptures were completed or not. If there existed any gaps in content, the special functions of the Tripitaka Block’s first storey would have automatically remedied them.
Wang Lin’s Heavenly Extreme Path Sutra was already complete in terms of content. What it lacked, however, was the ideal level of depth.
The mantras that Lin Feng’s five other immediate disciples created were actually lacking in depth as well, but to Lin Feng, they could only graze the surface of the mantra due to the limits of their current mastery levels. As they continue further down the path of cultivation, they would surely continue to strengthen and deepen it. However, their mantras have already taken their personal insights on the principles of Heaven and Earth to the extreme, having unearthed and internalized every bit of knowledge as much as possible.
Wang Lin was different. His mantra was named the ‘Extreme Path’, yet he has yet to unleash the maximum level of his current potential, resulting in his mantra just missing the mark by an inch.
He was certainly striving for perfection, but he didn’t know what to do. The truth is cruel. This caused Wang Lin to be as distressed and vexed as he was.
Lin Feng looked at the Heavenly Extreme Path Sutra on his hand and a thought flashed through his mind. “Wang Lin, enter the state of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx now,” Lin Feng instructed.
Wang Lin did as he was told. The Aurous Core within his body vibrated, and excessive amounts of black Destructive Qi flushed out from his body, resembling the Lord of the River Styx Palace.
“Master, I was also in the state of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx when I derived the mantra previously.”
Lin Feng nodded and said patiently, “I know.” He gazed at Wang Lin and sighed to himself, “So that was indeed the case.”
“I didn’t notice this when you demonstrated the Destructive Stage of the River Styx previously during the time you just formed your Aurous Core.” A sudden realization dawned upon Lin Feng. “But now, after observing it more closely to confirm my suspicions, I can instantly identify the hints pointing to the problem.”
Many years of arduous training finally propelled Wang Lin from the beginner Foundation Establishment stage all the way up to the beginner Aurous Core stage with all his accumulated strength. The sheer escalation in his power was certainly earth-shattering, and the dark haze that shrouded his heart for many years dissipated completely. His entire disposition became a lot more carefree and he even started to smiled more, compared to the stone-cold face that he wore for a very long time.
Satisfied and exalted. These words perfectly encapsulated Wang Lin’s current state of mind.
However, there are always two sides to every coin. Having undergone a revolutionary leap in strength, he mood improved and he no longer felt aggrieved or suppressed. There was only one direct drawback – his mastery level of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx went down!
It did not mean that Wang Lin’s strength decreased. As a comparison, he could still defeat over twenty of his old selves without taking a scratch.
Instead, it meant that Wang Lin could not revert to the suppressed and depressed state of mind that he was in previously.
Wang Lin’s Destructive Stage of the River Styx is an extreme technique that transforms one’s mana completely into monstrous powers of destruction. The more extreme the transformation, the greater the strength.
Wang Lin comprehended the principles behind the forces of destruction and creation, which diametrically opposed each other on two extreme ends of the spectrum.
Mastering this type of Abhijina previously had a direct link with the immense pressure that Wang Lin was facing then.
As his seniors and juniors got stronger and stronger, the gap between them and himself grew larger and larger, and he even had to endure the mocking, judgemental stares of outsiders.
But thanks to his unbending mental fortitude, Wang Lin’s heart did not falter and instead converted all the negativity into the motivation to excel, which indirectly aided him in actualizing the Abhijina and mana of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx.
“Your Destructive Stage of the River Styx is the hybridized product from the combination of your soul’s will and mana.” Lin Feng thought to himself, “The further the cultivator’s emotions go towards a certain extreme, the more complete the transformation of his mana would be into destructive powers.”
On a whole, Wang Lin’s current emotional state was a form of relaxation and an improvement for his cultivation. Managing and residing in the Forest Abode also allowed him to embrace nature, which influenced the style of his mantra and allowed Zhu Yi and the others to benefit greatly from his insights.
However, such a state of mind was undoubtedly counter-productive and damaging for one’s mastery of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx.
In the process of deriving the Heavenly Extreme Path Sutra, Wang Lin could not avoid incorporating the principles and qualities of the Destructive Stage of the River Styx that he had previously mastered. Unfortunately, since his emotional state had changed considerably, it was no longer favourable for siding either extreme.
After hearing Lin Feng’s explanation, Wang Lin finally understood what was going on and laughed at himself. “Am I like a bucket of water that is just half-full?”
“You’re not entirely to blame.” Lin Feng shook his head and chuckled, “Your ideas are good, and the direction you’re heading in is correct. You’re just not emotionally prepared now, that’s all.”
Wang Lin nodded. “I shall continue to delve deeper into the mantra.”
“There’s no rush for that.” Lin Feng pondered for a moment then asked abruptly, “Speaking of which, do you have any plans to visit your relatives back home?”
Upon hearing this, Wang Lin was momentarily taken aback and left speechless.
According to real time in the Greater World, he has only left home for about two years, but because Wang Lin was training in the Heavenly Cosmic Ray World all this while, countless years have already flown by for his own clock.
In the past, he was focused solely on cultivation, and invested all his energy in training himself, unaware of the cycle of day and night continuing outside the mountain. Now that Lin Feng brought the topic up, he was suddenly overwhelmed by his thoughts and feelings for his family, which instantly flooded his heart.
Since he has already formed his Aurous Core, if he does return home, he would be doing so gloriously after accomplishing a grand feat, and become the pride of his parents.
Wang Lin regained his composure and calmed himself down, then replied slowly, “I’m not in a hurry to do so. I shall perfect my mantra and teach it to my disciple first. It’s still not too late to return home after Li Xingfei’s training has proceeded well on the right track.”
“You shall decide for yourself.” Lin Feng continued, “As the saying goes, the threads in a loving mother’s hand patches up the holes of her wandering son’s clothes. Most parents still miss their children dearly, however short a time their children may be away for.”
Wang Lin nodded in succession. He gazed at Lin Feng and felt a certain warmth surge through his heart.
After bidding Wang Lin farewell, Lin Feng proceeded up to the third storey of the Tripitaka Block alone and gazed at the space outside the window, entranced. Then, a Voice-Projecting Crystal shattered, delivering a message to Lin Feng. He received it and heard Song Fu’s voice, the manager of the Pavilion of Heavenly Trade opposite him.
After hearing Song Fu’s message, Lin Feng twitched his eyebrows. “Liang Gan, the fourth prince of the Great Zhou Empire, would like to pay my Celestial Sect of Wonders a visit?”
“Hold on for a moment, Sect Master Lin.” Song Fu’s voice faded out and in came a youthful voice. It carried the innate grace of one of dignity and nobility, but it still greeted Lin Feng humbly and sincerely.
Liang Gan mentioned that he was going to travel through the vicinity of Mount Kunlun, and since the Celestial Sect of Wonders is the indisputable ruler of Mount Kunlun’s Northern Foothills, he naturally wished to pay a visit and hoped to receive advice and guidance from its leader, Lin Feng.
“The Great Zhou Empire …” Lin Feng was convinced and promptly agreed to the request, then summoned Zhu Yi with his mana.